Today’s The Hill reports on a program initiated by Speaker John Boehner – working closely with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Republican National Committee (RNC), state parties and GOP congressional delegations – to strengthen the House Majority. Dubbed the “orphan district program,” it’s the latest GOP effort to take the fight to Washington Democrats and ensure that Republican candidates and challengers have the resources they need to compete and win this November.
“Boehner is focused on so-called ‘orphan’ districts, knowing that winning these races is the key to retaining the House GOP majority. The Ohio Republican only recently noted his concerns on orphan candidates, but he has been working on the issue since early in the 2012 cycle.“In February of last year, Boehner tasked his political staff with developing a program through the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) that would partner with state party operations that lack resources in a presidential election year. The joint venture is unique because the NRCC has traditionally focused on messaging, polls and TV ads.“But this effort on get-out-the-vote and other ground-game initiatives has historically been run by the Republican National Committee (RNC).With half (approximately 25) of the competitive House races in orphan states, Boehner called for a shift in strategy....“Within 18 months, the NRCC had effectively coordinated with the state parties in those orphans to provide half the resources needed to establish 38 so-called Victory Centers in hotly contested House districts to fill the void left on the ground in a presidential year. Each orphan state has at least one GOP victory center but some, like California and New York, have at least 10 apiece.“Boehner has visited the bluest of the orphan states on several occasions since the victory effort started last year. During the Republican Party convention, the Speaker made a point to huddle with the orphan state delegations....“These centers are small storefronts in strip malls with 20 to 25 volunteers manning phone banks and a coordinator at the helm sending people out door to door with clipboards and walk lists, said a staffer familiar with the operation.“The key is the metrics that can be analyzed from the phone calls volunteers make to independent or swing voters, transmitted over Voice Over Internet Protocol phones connected to the massive RNC voter file database in D.C.“For example, the volunteer asks if the person will vote for such-and-such congressional candidate; whether he or she approves of the job that President Obama is doing; and if he or she will vote for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. For each response, the volunteer hits a button on the phone to send the respective answer to the RNC.“Once the phone banks have collected the information from their outreach calls, the Victory Centers know how to follow up with the individuals contacted. If the individual said he or she supports the GOP candidate, the Victory Center will send absentee ballots, follow up with calls and knock on that person’s door on Election Day to make sure he or she votes. If the individual is undecided, then it’s largely the job of the campaign to go out and convince the individual to vote for him or her. Boehner political spokesman Cory Fritz said that as of Monday, the combined orphan centers have made 5 million contacts.”